How many times have you been in a relationship that ended because you didn’t understand each other’s needs?
It happens all the time. You may love someone dearly, but fall into the trap of loving them how you need to be loved instead of how they need to be loved. This is not a subtle difference. Incompatible love languages are a big cause of dissension in relationships.
In one of my past relationships, incompatible love languages eventually drove me to experiment with a polyamorous lifestyle, and eventually end the relationship when I realised that would never feel as much love as I needed without compromise.
Two of my predominant love languages are attention and physical affection. I like my partner to make spending time with me a priority, give me hugs, kisses, and tell me that I’m loved. Neither my ex-partner or I knew how to love each other most effectively, and consequently I often felt as though my love quota was not being met. I made it a priority to make time for him, look out for his wellbeing, and constantly shower him with affection. In my eyes, these were a very loving things to do, but he would often feel smothered by attention and affection overload. I would feel rejected, frustrated, and hurt that he didn’t seem to want as much of my love as I wanted to give.
Contrarily, my ex-partner was fluent in the acts of service love language. He would wash and polish my car, fix my computer, install my car stereo, and other miscellaneous jobs. I appreciated these things, but I was never totally fulfilled on the love front. I just wanted a damn hug, and he just wanted me to take out the garbage for once!
It’s almost guaranteed that there will be a communication break down at some point if you and your partner have incompatible love languages. It’s like someone who speaks Spanish trying to understand someone who speaks German and vice-versa. Even if you do manage to break down that significant communication barrier, you’re still not communicating in your native language, so there will still be discrepancies in your understanding.
It is much easier to communicate with your partner when you both speak the same language. My current partner and I speak nearly identical love languages, so it is easy – effortless – for both of us to give and receive love.
We both knew we are loved because we tell each other all of the time. We are both affection whores, so we’re rarely in the same room for more than a minute without hugging. We’re both big on deep and meaningful conversation and communication, learning, philosophising, and enjoy sharing information with one another. He makes spending time with me a priority. I worry if I think he’s not taking care of himself.
It’s not an effort on either of our part to be this way. It’s simply our most natural way to communicate and show love.
Love languages are not only helpful for creating happy romantic relationships. They can also be used to show love and appreciation to your friends and family. As an example, one of my good friends invited me over for a surprise tea party last year. She knew I loved to dress up, loved tea, and that I was vegan. She had bought hats, balloons, an assortment of teas and vegan goodies, and treated me to the most lovely afternoon. My friend loves scrap-booking, and she had painstakingly made a gorgeous scrapbook for me, with memories of our friendship so far and room for many more to come. It was a perfect afternoon and I was deeply touched by my friend’s generosity and Love. Of course, I only saw the end result of all this, but behind the scenes my friend had gone well out of her way to find and prepare vegan food, and spent many hours of planning, preparation and creative flair to make that afternoon happen. I put the scrap-book in a prominent place in my room. Every time I walk past it, I see an expression of Love – it never fails to brings a smile to my face and fill me with gratitude that I have such a special friend.
What are your love languages? Think about the times you have felt most special, loved and appreciated. You can discern what your preferred love languages are from this. How about your loved ones? Do you know how they need to be loved? Do you speak their languages? Do they speak yours? Or do you just assume their way or receiving love is the same as yours? Why not ask them?
Like this article? Say "thanks" with a soy chai latte!